Confederate Flag - History Essay Example
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A poem titled ‘I am the confederate flag of America by Jeff Mc Clesse quoted in Johny leecracy.com represents the views of the flag’s proponents. The poem says that the flag came into being in the year 1861 and it represents all the Americans of all races. The poem claims that, those people who are opposed to it have no basis for the opposition and that they really do not know what the flag really stands for. It goes further to say that the flag was originally meant to support soldiers and the rights of the states and in the process becoming a symbol of America at large (Johnyleecrary. com, par 44). Although it could be argued that the flag represents the heritage of Americans, in the real sense, it is a symbol of racism.
Those who are in support of the flag have in many occasions defended it by saying that, the flag honors those people or soldiers who died in the battle field; however, the flag is a reminder of one of the most disgraceful periods in history of United States when slavery was an in thing in the country (Martinez, par 1). It reminds people of the times, they would rather forget. The act of flying the flag any where next or on top of a public building is like flying the flag of the Nazi regime in Germany. The worst crimes against humanity took place under it and the policies that encouraged racism were enforced under it. To make the matters worse, the confederacy president; Jefferson Davis and a top general of that time called Robert Lee were guilty of treason. Thus after the war, they ceased to be Americans citizens until John Carter came into power to save them (Maddox, par 3).
Moreover, flying the flag on any public building or associating it with any one building is a crime according to federals law. Senator John Mc Cain has also been quoted claiming that the flag symbolizes racism and slavery and thus this continues to support the racism claim. The moment people raise the confederation flag atop any public building, it is actually going against the 13th and the 14th amendments which are against any act of racism and slavery. After the civil war, the confederation states had to adopt the amendments acts of civil war and these include the 13th 14th and 15th. These amendments prevent the states from carrying out any racist actions and even expressing any kind of supremacy in regards to race. The moment these states allow the flag to be flown, they are actually violating these amendments (Maddox, par 4, 5).
Thousands and ten thousands of Africans are still feeling the effects of the superior race myth, and most of the time, this myth is enforced by some laws and practices such as flying of the flag. Thus it should be banned completely from public places or otherwise be placed in private institutions that do not receive public funding. This is what made the once Texas governor; George Bush to swear that he would never allow the flag to be flown atop the capitol of Texas (Maddox, par 7).
Moreover, these flags were surrendered in the year 1865 and this meant that, they would never be flown over the US. By adopting the 13th and 14th civil war amendments, it meant that the confederacy states had no legal or moral right to fly the flags since they were symbols of racism. Before the surrender, these states had adopted some laws that perpetuated slavery and allowed enslaved persons to be placed in their own territory and thus, the moment they surrendered and adopted the civil war amendments, they also lost the right to fly the flags (Maddox, par 8).
Between 1865 and 1962, it was well understood by South Carolinas that the flag belonged to the museums to be a reminder of a lost mission. However, during the celebration to commemorate the war, the state decided to hoist the flag. This reminded Africans of slavery thus undermining their piece of mind. The rights of Africans which they won during the war are also being undermined the moment these flags are hoisted. When thinking about the supremacy of he whites, it may not be a laughing matter since most of the Africans’ lives were threatened under the same flag. The doctrine of racism in America which can be blamed for so many crimes committed against humanity is deeply rooted in the flag and thus it must come down (Maddox, par 9-12).
Those people who are still flying the flag are ignoring its implications on the issue of race. It does not matter how one perceives the flag but the fact remains; it s a symbol of racism. It stood for the same in the civil war and it still does. The flag can be related to the Swastika, the one which was used during the Nazi régime. All of them represent hate, murder, oppression and destruction of people who were perceived to be inferior (Kalajian, par 14-18). During that time, the slaves were treated by plantation owners just like one would treat a goat or a sheep. They were never seen as human beings. This is the same thing that happened in the Nazi regime where Jews were seen as animals and thus the murders that took place then seemed to be justified by the then regime. It is sad when people decide to display symbols that are associated with brutality and inhumanity just like the confederation flag in the name of idealizing the aspects of culture while at the same time undermining the racial aspects (Kalajian, par 14-18).
“Bring it down” and “your heritage is my slavery” are words of 50,000 protesters in 2000 who were against the flag since for them, it represented slavery and segregation. Thus, it is not something of today but even people in the past used to view it that way. The size of the protesters shows that the flag affects people in a much deeper way (Walsh, par 1-4). To worsen the situation, the flag was hoisted for the first time in 1962 over the Carolina’s state government’s seat and this time, it was used as a sign of hostility towards the blacks and also resistance by the whites to the struggle of civil rights that was taking place then. Flying the flag in the state of Carolina impacts negatively to the feelings of the blacks since it is the only state which does not observe the martin Luther’s birthday as a must holiday. If the flag is raised for example in Columbia or another state, it may not have much significance but the moment is flown in the state of Carolina, it is bound to affect people in a major way. The main question that should be asked at this moment is ,how will the Jewish people feel the moment they see the Swastika hoisted over one of the government buildings ?(Walsh, par 2-4).
Former Senator of Illinois, Carol Moseley, who is regarded as the first black American to be a senator, also had the same views about the flag. In 1993, she said that the flag was a painful reminder to the slaves’ descendants since it reminded them of the horrific events that characterized the flag in the past (Gale group, par 3). She was so passionate about this for she claimed that it affected her individually as black American because she felt undignified by it as a person and the same applied to other black people. It is so disheartening when one is reminded from time to time that, they were once sub humans who could be sold and bought just like a piece of property. She added more weight to this by saying that, the flag has no meaning and significance in the modern world and has no place in the modern society. Thus she called the flag to be brought down as a sign of getting racism out of the way as the nation needed to move forward (Gale group, par 7-10). She has been seconded by Mitt Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, who claimed that the confederate flag is not something to be proud about and thus for him personally, he would not recognize it because it is very divisive and thus it should never be flown (Bradley, par. 4).
Those people who continue to claim that the flag is a symbol of American heritage should be branded as not being serious. How can one fly a flag that is an offence to a particular group of people in the name of heritage? Flying the flag is just like flying the Nazi one in front of the Jews. Why are people still proud of the southern confederate states which were racist? By doing so is like loving the apartheid South Africa (Bradley, par 6-7). It is so disheartening for black people to see that some people are still proud and would want to be associated with the 1965 America’s period which could be referred to as America apartheid south (Bradley, par 8).
In addition, hoisting of the flag still remains an emotional thing. The fact that it was flown during the slavery period and when the laws of Jim Crow were enacted by the states in the south to enforce segregation, does not go down well with many. The flag has also been used by some racists that supported white supremacy (Trip Atlas, par 5). The Ku Klux clan incarnation had used the flag especially when marching around the states. Another group that used the flag is the Dixiecrats who mainly represented white Supremacy in South Carolina in 1940s.This group was also for the preservation of the confederacy state’s traditional values which were mainly to propagate the white supremacy (Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, par 13-14). Other people called ‘the segregationists’ also found the flag to be very convenient for their movement especially in their protests against a supreme court’s decision in a case referred to as Morgan v. Virginia, that was aimed at desegregating public transportation between states and also in another case, Brown v .Board of education of Topeka that was aimed at desegregating public schools. According to the African Americans, this flag is associated with violence against them that was motivated by racism for example lynching (Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, par 15). The newspaper Afro America which used to be published in Baltimore once warned people that the use of the flag in the states symbolized resistance to civil rights and represented the propaganda of the Nazi regime (Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, par 15) and I would not agree more with that.
In conclusion, people may claim that it represents the heritage of Americans, but in the real sense it does not. How can one claim that when he or she knows very well that, it is offensive? It is well known that the flag was used in a regime that propagated white supremacy and the main victims of this regime were the blacks. The flags were also used by racist groups such as the ku Klux clan and segregationists and thus it is very hard to convince a person that, flying the flag is purely an innocent act. Flying the flag is just like slapping the faces of Black Americans and reminding them that they were once sub humans, hence it should not be flown at all.
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